Thursday, August 03, 2006

Seattle Ahoy!

(Do click on the images as you read.)

On the 22nd of July, I left Hyderabad for attending the TechReady 3 @ Seattle. Tech Ready is one of the Microsoft's company wide event for field professionals. Started at around 4 pm from the Hyderabad airport. The flight was supposed to go from Hyderbad to Mumbai. Then from Mumbai we were to leave after midnight to Paris, from Paris to New York and then to Seattle. Well that definitely seems and it was a Looooonng journey. The delays started from Mumbai, almost 3-4 hours, then on the Charles De Gaulle, Paris again almost 2 hours and then AGAIN at JFK. At the end of it, we discovered that we were travelling for almost 42 hours.
We were booked Museum of Flight@ the Crowne Plaza in the Seattle downtown and it was a good 20 mins drive from the Airport. The next day was Sunday. So we ended up visiting the Musuem of Flight. Personally, I dont think you can get such a consolidated and exhaustive view of the history of aviation in a single place. The place is based right besides the Boeing Factory and they also use the "Red Barn" where Boeing started making his first air planes. Museum of FlightThe Museum boasts of a life size model of the plane that the Wright Brothers flew over the Kitty Hawk. They also have aviation experts who are more than pleased to offer you a guided tour through the evolution of the flight. Their exhaustive knowledge of the subject simply awes you. They will tell you about the Wright brothers first flight, about how the flights evolved into mail carriers and then passenger carriers before taking you to the World war domains. The Museum also have real to life models of ALL the planes that were used in the World War I & II along with all their information and interesting anecdotes. Well, and thats not all. Just outside the musuem, opposite the Red Barn, you have one of the Presidential planes that was used by JFK on several of his trips. Just besides this one is the magnificient Concorde. You can take a tour of these planes and go right till the cockpit.
Once done with the museum of flight, we zoomed off to a far off place to try our luck at shopping :). We had heard about some factory malls outside the city where you would get some things really cheap. This place called North Bend, was almost an hours drive from the city. The place has a couple of malls and a Burger King outlet. Thats where we had our lunch.
After some meager shopping at the North Bend, we were off to the Washington State Convention Center to register ourselves for the Tech Ready.
From Monday, we started with Tech Ready and then were hooked up in a busy schedule till Friday. Barring two evenings where we went off for team parties to a lake side place called Bells Harbour. That was a great time to meet various other guys from all over the places.
On Thursday, we had a grand party, and I mean - GRAND. Party @ Bells Harbour Cruises, Music and Booze. Thats what the evening was all about. With a live band entertaining pretty much throughout the evening, it was certainly a beautiful treat.
Friday being the last day, we got out quite early from Tech Ready. Rajiv Shah & me, walked to the Space Needle - thats another attraction of Seattle. Built in 1962, the Space Needle is right in the center of the City of Seattle. the entire structure is almost 600 ft tall with an observation deck at a height of almost 500 ft. Just below the observation deck, you have a revolving restaurant that can give you a view of the entire city as you enjoy your food. Of course, we planned to go in there for dining, but then it seems that you need to call them up and book in advance. Check out some of the interesting facts about the Space Needle.
Over my 7 days stay in Seattle, I had a chance to try out a couple of good restaurants there.The Space Needle
If anybody is going to be in the Seattle Downtown, I would probably suggest Ginger Thai (Thai Cuisine) or Mexico Cantina (Mexican of course) on the Pine street. Or you can try some really nice food and beer @ the Rock Bottom on the 5th Avenue. To try some Indian food, you would need to go a bit out of the downtown. Bellevue has a really nice restaurant - "Chutneys" where you would get some good Indian cuisine. On Saturday, I ended up meeting Anant Agvekar, one of my old buddies. He and his wife had come over to my hotel. From there, we drove up to the Macys and then to Chutneys for some nice dinner.
The next day morning - Sunday, I was off from Seattle. Heading to Chattanooga (near Atlanta) in the state of Tennesse for another project.
My impression about Seattle? Well, I would say its really a nice place, calm and green. The best part that I liked about it is that it has no hustle like any of the major cities and yet you can live there to work for the worlds best software company - Microsoft. I dont think there is anything better that I can really ask for. Given a chance, I would definitely love to be here in Seattle again - obviously along with my family :).


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